Sharon and Steve have lived in this wilderness setting for the over 35 years. They've always endeavoured to minimise their environmental footprint. First was the gazetting of the property as a wildlife refuge to protect the riverine wilderness. Materials used to construct their house were recycled from houses that they demolished in Brisbane, and regrowth poles harvested from within 100 metres of the house. They have used solar power since the first panels became available in the early eighties. Steve worked in the region installing stand alone solar power systems.
To this day the Lodge remains entriely off grid.
The Cabins started life in another place for another purpose. The large cabin was a demountable road workers camp, the smaller cabin on the Mt Lindesay border gate as accommodation for the tickies who manned that gate. These were relocated and refurbished using trees milled on the property by a local mobile mill. The trees that were felled for this purpose produced very little waste. The head of the tree and milled offcuts were docked up for firewood.The saw dust is used to balance the carbon/nitrogen in the composting toilets.
The Tree Huts were modelled on early settlers' semi-permanent camps. The Tree Huts are constructed from recycled corrugated iron sourced from the Old Tabulam Courthouse, recycled teak and hardwood flooring, railway sleeper offcuts and milled timber from the property. The huts were built by hand and sited to least disturb the bush and take in the view of the Clarence River.
A total of 5kw of solar photovoltaic panels power the lodge. This is done with three arrays. 3kw for the main house, 1kw for the cabins and 1 kw for the camp kitchen and Bushman's Huts.
Water is sourced from a wet season waterfall located on the mountain behind the cabins, this is gravity fed to a large holding tank and then gravity fed to all the buildings. The river is used as a back up in times of no flow or firefighting.
Composting toilets are used for all accommodation and camping areas. Why composting toilets? For one person the typical 10 litre flush contaminates 36,000 litres of water for a mere 792 litres of body waste per year. What it means is that we're taking a valuable, clean resource - water - and a potentially valuable resource - human excretment - and mixing them together to pollute the water and make the fertilising potential of body wastes useless. If we were to use a standard septic system the waste water from this given our high rainfall and low soil permeability has the potential to pollute the pristine Clarence River. Instead we use waterless composting toilets with the byproducts from these used to establish native trees in our bush regeneration projects.
We encourage recycling of rubbish by providing individual bins to separate paper, glass, metal and organic materials and ask guests to take whatever is left home with them.